A few things you should know about sixth grade (in my room):
Parent/School Communication and Missing Assignments
EMAIL and Planners: The best way to maintain contact with me throughout the school year is email, email@example.com, I usually check before and after school and during lunch if I have time. If your message is time sensitive, it is best to call the office and ask them to leave me a message in my mailbox or have me paged. Calls to the classroom are discouraged, mainly because they usually interrupt instructional time and I NEVER check voice mail as it never seems to work properly. Your child's planner will come home daily and should be inside a yellow folder. Please sign it after you have check for messages, updates, homework, and other information about what is happening at school. These first few weeks are the very best times to start new habits and to get your child used to bringing it home and sharing what went on while they were away. Please use this planner as tool to keep yourself informed, your child organized, and to communicate to me when email is not an option.
Daily goals will be posted in our classroom in all subjects so that your child can tell exactly what they are supposed to be learning and how that learning will be measured. Your child will also be expected to set individual goals for learning and behavior each card marking in the LIM binders. These binders will generally come home each week for your review so you can see your child's progress towards their goals. There may even be some days when this binder will come home for signatures or small work assignments to be completed as a family. I will help them along the way, but in preparing them for middle school I tend to do a ton of goal setting in my room and place a great deal of responsibility for meeting those goals on the children I teach. My goal is to get them as independent and responsible as possible so they can be successful in the future years of education. That being said, it is okay to not "bail" your child out if they forget something at home.
MISSING ASSIGNMENTS: I will circle your child's planner pages in red if an assignment is not turned in on time, so if you start to see lots of red you will know something is up. I give time at recess for students who need a quiet space to work, either in our room or somewhere else in the building; but ultimately it is YOUR CHILD'S responsibility to turn in work on time and to monitor the missing assignment list which is posted in the student center of the room at all times. I do not make it a habit to call parents about missing work as I view sixth grade is a training year for middle school and beyond. My goal is to help your child take ownership of their learning and develop strategies to stay on top of work expectations. I take this very seriously and set pretty high standards, so extra time is not generally given unless there are extenuating circumstances. Sometimes, however, a planner gets missed (usually if your child is absent on days that sometime is due), so if needed, you may shoot me a quick email whenever you need a current missing tally.
I will be using remind.com to send out last minute messages and reminders. Choose either text message or email when you register. It may also be a good idea to have your child register their cell phone too. This will be my 3rd year using this app and I find it very helpful for parents and students and I encourage you to utilize it often. It also has a chat feature and a way to upload photos of work so that kids and parents can share information with me and with each other in a safe way.
Please know that text charges may accumulate depending on your texting plans and the amount of times I use the service to send out messages. If your phone has limited texting I would suggest providing an email instead that you check often, or plan to use your child's planner daily.
My Remind.com registration phone number is 734-365-7527. If you want updates for my homeroom students enter the code @martinsh. I will be setting up an additional account soon for my social studies classes.
Goal Setting, LIM, and Responsibility
Mastery Learning and Extra Help
I believe in mastery learning, which means that any assignment in class can be redone by your child in order to achieve a higher grade. My conditions to this are that the work is resubmitted to me within a week and that they fix their "mistakes" with minimal guidance at home.
I willingly open my classroom daily at recess for students to work on missing assignments or homework as well as to receive help from me with redoing assignments for mastery learning. However, I generally do NOT keep students inside as a punishment for missing work.
Middle school preparation needs natural consequences, and missing assignments are recorded as zeroes in my grade book until turned in. Therefore, it is your child's responsibility to stay in when help or extra time is needed to complete work.